These are a few of my favorite quotes, and when I repeat them I don’t feel…so sad.
“I feel sorry for people who do not drink,” Frank Sinatra once said. “When they wake up in the morning it is as good as they are going to feel all day.”
“You can only pour so much milk into a glass before some of it starts to leak out over the top,” was a line of dialogue written for the character Bud Bundy on the show “Married with Children”. This quote was dropped in reference to the idea that the Kelly Bundy character was learning new things and trying to retain the old ones. She was trying to impress her Dad, and her brother, with her new found intellectual abilities, until she heard a doorbell, and she couldn’t figure out what it was. The Bud quote was his explanation to his Dad for what he thought was happening in Kelly’s brain.
There are times when I think aging has affected my memory. It very well could be that age has lessened my intellectual capacity, but I’m more inclined to think it has more to do with this bit of dialogue written for the Bud Bundy character. We’re so inundated with information in this information age, that certain, core fundamentals are being forgotten. A friend of mine informed me that we only have room for three million memories in our brain, and when we start to attain more of them in the natural course of our lives, some start to fall out.
Winston Churchill: “Youth is wasted on the young.” I can’t tell you how much of my youth I wasted. I was naturally athletic, and I had an inquisitive mind. I don’t think I adequately pursued either. I thought I’d live forever. I thought I would eventually figure something out when I became an adult. I preferred to play Nintendo and Sega, and then I preferred to drink beer while playing Nintendo and Sega. I don’t regret much of what I did, but I now wish I had that youthful enthusiasm and youthful energy back, so I could combine it with my current mind.
Marcel Proust: “We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.” I think this follows the Churchill quote well, for it is only through the path we have taken in life that we can become wise, and it is in these paths that we take that we lose our youth. I’m all about teaching my nephews. I sit and daydream about scenarios that I can lay out for them. I tell them the things I did. My lessons are funny and sad depending on the situation. At the end of the day, I’m quite sure that all of my lessons will go in one ear and out the other in the manner all the lessons I was taught did. We cannot, as Proust says, prepare those setting out on their journey any more than those that preceded us could. We can try, and most of us will, if we don’t want our experiences to wither within, but they have to take this journey themselves if they are ever going to learn anything. Once that valuable lesson is learned independent of advice, they can combine it with the advice we’ve passed on, and actually learn something in life.
Norman Mailer: “Experience, when it cannot be communicated to another, must wither within and be worse than lost.” I have used this quote a lot. I have often replaced the word “experience” with stories. I believe we all have stories to tell. If we allow these stories to die off they are worse than lost. All of my Uncles proudly proclaim that my Grandpa wasn’t a talker. “He was a humble man that didn’t talk about himself much,” they say with a wistful smile. This was seen as a valiant attribute of the WWII generation. That’s great and all, I thought, but after he died I realized that all of the lessons he could’ve taught us, and all of the entertaining vignettes that he could’ve provided to us died with him.
When John Madden decided that he would retire (the first time) he told a story about his boy asking for a car. “That’s ridiculous,” Madden said to his wife. “Shouldn’t we at least wait until he’s sixteen before we even start in on this conversation?” His wife informed him that his son turned sixteen two years ago. John Madden subsequently retired from his duties as a football analyst.
I think he was gone for one year. A reporter asked Madden about this ‘Spending time with the family’ quote, “Anyone that tells you that they’re retiring to spend more time with the family is lying. No one wants to spend more time with their family, and your family doesn’t want to spend more time with you.” he said.
Friedrich Nietzsche: “It is not enough to prove something. One also has to seduce or elevate people to it. That is why a man of knowledge should learn how to speak his wisdoms and often in such a way that sounds like folly.” This describes the entire movie business in a nutshell. How else can they get the common populace to accept aberrant behavior? They develop plot lines that involve seemingly harmless actions, say a cartoon, and they drop in little lines here and there, over and over, until it becomes an accepted norm.
Bertrand Russell: “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” Every person believes they are a member of “the wiser people” faction, and that the other people (of the other party) are the fools and fanatics.
Abraham Lincoln: “Most of us are just about as happy as we make up our minds to be.” Some of us are absolutely miserable in the present, and we can’t wait for something to happen, so that we can finally be happy. Some of us will kind of sort of somewhat admit that we are happy, but we know that the other shoe is sure to drop on our happiness and expose it as the myth it was. We know too much to be happy, we’ve lived too long to know that happiness just doesn’t happen to us, until that certain something happens somewhere and we wish we could go back to the time and place when we were happy.
Ernest Hemingway: “I like to sleep. My life has a tendency to fall apart when I’m awake.”